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Mobility - Audubon Bike Program

South Los Angeles is a region where the biking rate is twice that of the general city average.

There are many health and environmental benefits of mobility and alternative transportation. South LA has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the County. One of the simplest and easiest ways to manage obesity is through physical activity.

While the interest in alternative forms of transportation is there, what's missing is the infrastructure needed to account for the growing number of cyclists in South L.A. We need safer roads and additional bike lanes in order to reduce the number of collisions.


In 2010, there were over 219 fatal collisions and 24,780 injury collisions recorded in the City of Los Angeles. Children under age 18 accounted for 27% of injury accidents.

We asked ourselves: how safe is it for kids to walk or bike to and from school? CHC has found that according to the city’s collision data the most pedestrian/cyclist collisions in South LA happen around school sites. 


THE PROGRAM

Through a recent study, international bicycle company Specialized Bikes analyzed the effects of bicycle riding on students’ mental concentration and performance in the classroom. The study selected several schools nationwide, including Audubon Middle School located in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Los Angeles.

As part of being awarded the pilot cycling program, 33 bikes were delivered to Audubon Middle School. Students were trained on how to safely ride the bikes, use helmets and other equipment. Community Health Councils (CHC) coordinated Audubon educators and administration as well as neighborhood adult volunteers to lead and chaperone the on-street PE rides.

Watch the video

Special thanks to Holly Sortomme of Starting Block Productions for making the video.

Students’ heart rates were monitored and their performances on standardized tests taken in the afternoon were tracked and are currently being analyzed for possible impacts from morning physical activity. 

The Audubon Bike PE Program not only introduced to Audubon students a fun, alternative way to be physically active, but also taught them bicycle riding basics and road safety. The school is located adjacent to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, a busy corridor slated to have its bicycle lane extended past the school and several miles east towards Exposition Park.




"As we rolled out the bike program onto the streets surrounding the campus it became painfully obvious what a limitation it is to lack a safe cycling infrastructure around the campus, specifically on streets like Martin Luther King Blvd. The first ride proved to be nerve-wracking for most students. Due to the high speeds of vehicle traffic and width of the street, we avoiding King altogether." - Andres Ramirez, CHC Community Liaison


The Audubon Bike PE Program highlights latent demand for bicycle riding in the neighborhood, where more youth would ride bikes if they or their parents felt it was safer to do so on the street. This is especially important in South Los Angeles, which has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in Los Angeles County.

Preliminary results from Specialized's study on cycling suggest that regularly riding a bicycle might help manage mental concentration and performance in students with ADHD.


For more information about mobility in South LA, read about our Healthy Kids Zone initiative.